Subscription Box Review: FairyLoot – October 2019

Basic Box Info

FairyLoot has only one box option, featuring a YA fantasy book and 5-6 bookish items each month for $33.90 USD or £26. International shipping is available, with the exception of Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Fiji, Guadeloupe, Costa Rica, Israel, Palestine and Haiti. Boxes ship between the 20th – 25th of each month.


October 2019 Unboxing: Love at First Bite

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Vampire haul!

This month’s book is The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – a story set in 1872 New Orleans with murder, mystery, and vampires! I’ve seen some positive reviews from trusted sources and am pretty excited to check this out, hopefully sooner rather than later! This exclusive edition is signed, has sprayed red page edges, and come with art inside the dust jacket (above).

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I always get so stupidly excited when I hear that a special edition candle will be included in a box! This is a mini candle from The Melting Library  inspired by Interview with a Vampire. The scent is described as blood orange, damascus rose, and cashmere musk. I have a lovely Harry Potter themed full-size candle from Melting Library and they’re popular for good reason – nice scent blends and a pretty solid burn time!

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I’m all about getting unique and best of all USEFUL items in these boxes, meaning I was thrilled to get this rather gothic coaster set designed by Blanca Design. They’re cork on the bottom, though the material on top may not survive too many condensation covered drinks.

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Here we have a book baggie with art by Noverantale that claims to have waterproof lining – I didn’t get to test it out in today’s gusty, wet weather so that verdict will have to wait for another day. It feels really nice and will easily fit the standard sized YA book, though probably not a chunky adult fantasy which tend to have larger dimensions.

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In the same vein as the other vampire themed items (what a terrible pun!), we have a “Bite Me” sock hat and an adorable bat pin! The sock hat with a design by KDP Letters feels SO nice and cozy and I love that it’s a nice, neutral grey. This is a simple yet well made pin designed by @taratjah.

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And here we have what I’ve been thinking of as the “filler items”. We’ve got a lovely vampiress art print by Monolime Art. A Twilight quote as a sticker from Catarina Book Designs because we couldn’t not have a Twilight item in a vampire box. More tarot cards – really what am I going to do with all these things? Bookmarks? And lastly, a bookmark!

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Review

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Received from Goodreads giveaway in exchange for honest review.

Published: October 25, 2016

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Genre: Fantasy – Urban

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

Silvia’s debut novel, Signal to Noise, has been selected as a finalist for the British Fantasy, Locus, Aurora and Solaris awards, and was named on seven year’s best lists in 2015: B&N’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, RT, BookRiot, Buzzfeed, io9, Vice, and Tor.com. She has also been nominated for a World Fantasy Award for her work on the anthology She Walks in Shadows.


Certain Dark Things is one of those vampire books that totally breaks the mold and sweeps you away. I was totally into vampire books as a teenager (Twilight and all that other crap) and I will admit that it’s king of a guilty pleasure to this day. Certain Dark Things is not like these other YA, paranormal romance things- it’s so legit.

Similar to Holly Black’s book The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, vampires are openly known to exist and governments across the world have begun persecuting them and forcing them from their countries. Many vampires have gone to Mexico and some of the other South American nations that are less hostile. Our story is based in Mexico City, which happens to be a vampire-free zone thanks to the human gangs uniting and forcing them from the territory, but Atl, a native vampire of the Tlahuihpochtli subspecies, is on the run and hiding in Mexico City. Her family was a major power in the northern drug trade, but was brutally murdered by the Godoy family who are Necros vampires. Nick Godoy is now hunting her and life has gotten significantly more difficult. She is alone but for her dog Cualli and her new human friend Domingo.

The story’s focus is primarily on Atl and Domingo and how they both deal with the threat of the Godoy goons. It’s a brilliant introduction to vampiric subspecies, culture, and the social impact of vampires in this new world. I do hope this will continue on as a series because there is SO MUCH POTENTIAL HERE! This could be a goldmine and really revamp (no pun intended) the vampire fiction subgenre, which suffered a case of paranormal romance for a number of years. While there is a slight note of romanticism in this book, it’s not actually what the book is about- the whole plot doesn’t center on Atl and Domingo’s relationship, though that’s certainly a big part of it.

I really enjoyed reading through Certain Dark Things and found it to be a breath of fresh air! I think fans of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown or Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson will really dig this. I can’t wait to see what else the author has in store for readers. I hope we’ll get to see more of the other vampire species that were mentioned in the information section at the end of the book because they all sound super interesting. Some mentioned had mind reading powers, bioluminescence, and even shape-changing abilities! Not you’re run of the mill vampires, huh?

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – Review

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Published: September 3, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 9780316213103

Pages: 419 (Hardcover)

Rating: 4.0/5.0

 

Synopsis:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.


 

This was a surprisingly good book, with a fresh spin on vampirism that I thoroughly enjoyed. Vampires are practically commonplace after an outbreak of the disease changes the world. Vampires and those who have “gone cold” are quarantined in areas called Coldtowns, where they carry on with their lives and some even become celebrities. The story begins with a party going very, very wrong. Dozens of teens are murdered and drained of blood, while Tana remains alive and her off-again boyfriend has been bitten. The next step is obvious- head to Coldtown and try to stay alive, maybe even go into self imposed exile for three months and wait out the disease…
I’ve heard good things about this book, and I’ve read Holly Black’s series of faerie books (Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside) which I enjoyed immensely, so I picked it up. I’m actually a bit put out with myself that I didn’t read it much sooner because it was pretty great. It was a refreshing post-Twilight era read that defied my expectations page after page. Tana was a strong and resourceful lead character and she just seemed so chill through pretty much everything. Gavriel…. Well, you’ll know what I’m trying to say if you’ve read it. He’s like the real MVP of this book. Most valuable person. Male vampire persona. Whatever, he’s the best.
I think I would really love a movie of this… I’m not super attached, so even if the movie was just an okay adaptation, it would probably still be really awesome. Especially the vampire nightclub scenes where people are just dying to get bitten and everyone is dressed up in their own definition of finery. I just have this image in my head of what it should look like, aaaand now I’ve got to go look up fanart.
This is definitely a page turner and I got really into the storyline and the characters, so much so that I spent most of my weekend holed up in my room reading. Holly Black writes great stuff and I’ll be sure to catch up on all her books I haven’t read yet. If you haven’t read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown yet, be sure to pick it up. As of today (12/11/15), Books- A -Million has it in their bargain section and it is on Bookoutlet.com for $3.99. No excuses.